Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued final regulations for implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA).

After considering more than 100,000 public comments during a 60-day period, the EEOC aimed to clarify definitions and limitations of the law. For example, the PWFA only provides accommodations to qualified employees with limitations related to, affected by or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The EEOC noted that whether a condition constitutes “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” will be guided by existing Title VII precedent.

The PWFA, which went into effect on June 27, 2023, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions unless the accommodation would cause the employer an undue hardship. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

The House Committee on Education and Labor Report on the PWFA provided examples of possible reasonable accommodations, including:

  • The ability to sit or drink water.
  • Closer parking.
  • Flexible hours.
  • Appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel.
  • Additional break time to use the bathroom, eat and rest.
  • Leave to recover from childbirth.
  • Reassignment from activities that are strenuous or involve exposure to compounds that are not safe for pregnancy.

However, on Feb. 27, a federal district court in Texas ruled that Congress lacked the required quorum to implement the PWFA, holding that the EEOC cannot enforce the law against the state. The court found that Congress violated the Constitution when it passed the PWFA.

The PWFA does not replace federal, state or local laws that are more protective of employees impacted by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Forty-six states have laws in place protecting workers who are pregnant or nursing from discrimination.

“SHRM and its membership championed the passage of the PWFA and offered guidance to the EEOC as this historic law conferred important workplace protections for pregnant workers and ensured that employers have flexibility and clarity regarding how to handle workplace accommodations for pregnant employees,” said Emily M. Dickens, chief of staff and head of public affairs for SHRM.

Thank you for visiting

It’s nice to meet you.

HR news and updates please enter your email address